How to become an angel investor in Edmonton

Start Up TNT
Michelle 1 2018
Michelle Ferguson
January 2, 2020

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A new initiative is encouraging first-time angel investors to get involved in the technology sector.

The Start-Up TNT Investment Summit brings together 20 to 30 investors, each investing $5,000 into a holding company that will fund one local early-stage company.

Organized by Zack Storms, organizer of Start-Up TNT: Thursday Night Tradition at Polar Park Brewing, the summit is meant to increase the amount of capital available to early-stage technology companies in Edmonton by increasing the pool of investors.

“It’s a very different animal — technology investing,” says Storms. “Even an experienced businessperson has a lot to learn when entering the space.”

Through his search for investors, Storms says he’s discovered there is an appetite for these types of gateway opportunities, where new investors can get acquainted with the sector.

“There are actually quite a few people that are interested in getting involved and are looking for an opportunity to do that – that’s what this summit is all about,” he says.

The capital raised is placed in a single purpose holding company that will ultimately be invested in one startup during the summit event on Feb. 20, 1-6 p.m., at Polar Park Brewing.

Even an experienced businessperson has a lot to learn when entering the tech space
Zack Storms Start-Up TNT organizer

While the summit might feel like a pitch competition, Storms says the process is designed with knowledge- and relationship-building in mind, and is for investors and entrepreneurs alike.

Investors will receive formal education during Angel 101 sessions in mid-January. They will also participate in due diligence and deal structure negotiations, led by lead investor Ryan Heit of Valhalla Private Capital, throughout February.

“This is an opportunity to learn the ropes, meet other investors that you can co-invest with and share deal flow with and if you’re really interested in it, you can join Valhalla Angels and start angel investing on a regular basis,” says Storms.

Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to attend Basecamp at a discounted rate (prepping them for raising capital) and will meet 20 to 30 new potential investors.

Although the group will collectively decide on one startup, Storms hopes there will be plenty of side deals.

Start-Up TNT Investment Summit is based off similar events in Seattle and Kelowna.

The fund is accepting investors. Interested parties can inquire here.

Startup TNT Investment Summit is not the only way to get involved in early-stage investing. Here’s a look at two other groups in Edmonton:

Sprout Fund

Also a new initiative, Sprout Fund allows investors who have no experience with early-stage companies to invest in a portfolio of startup firms. The fund is focused on bringing in individuals who made their money in traditional industries, such as construction, real estate and oil & gas.

“The hope is that they’re dipping their toes in the water with us for tech investing and that they can do more on their own,” says Mark Benning, one of the funds four managing partners.

Limited partners gain insight into evaluation criteria and thesis building through quarterly calls with the managing partners. The plan is to offer formal educational components as part of future funds. Limited partners can also choose to participate in follow-on investment opportunities.

Sprout Fund operates like a micro-VC — meaning it is only interested in companies that have Series A potential.

While the inaugural fund closed spring 2019, the plan is to begin fundraising for a larger fund (Sprout Fund II will be approximately $20M) in mid-2020. Interested parties can sign up for more information at the bottom of this webpage.

Valhalla Angels

Valhalla Angels is a one of the most active angel investment group in Canada. It brings together a community of investors that are passionate about supporting the startup ecosystem through early-stage investing.

In addition to formal education events (Angel Investing 101), members can gain experience with vetting by attending Deal Screen events, where Valhalla members evaluate companies before inviting the highest-ranking to present at monthly forum events. They can also learn best practices by accessing due diligence information through the group’s shared online portal.

Over the course of a year, Valhalla members are introduced to between 50 and 70 vetted companies. This quality deal flow is one of the advantages to joining Valhalla Angels, says co-founder Ryan Heit.

“You’re finding deals from across Canada that you would otherwise never see. In addition, we vet them and bring them to you,” says Heit.

Members can make investments directly and/or participate in holding companies with other members — sharing due diligence and pooling resources.

Interested parties can fill out a member inquiry form or request to attend a forum by filling out a contact form. Prospective members can attend up to three forums for free.

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